Nilfgaard or Lower Alba is the core region of the Nilfgaardian Empire. At the mouth of river Alba is its capital. When the Imperator isn't in the capital, he usually resides in his summer palace at Loc Grim lake.
In contrast to views commonly held by Nordlings, the Empire's subjects consider this region's inhabitants to be "real" Nilfgaardians; humans of superior heritage – due to their elven ancestry – who speak a dialect derived from Elder Speech.
Ancient times and rise of the Kingdom
Nilfgaardians believe their history reach the 2nd century. The first settlers mixed with Black Seidhe, creating a nation keeping most of elven language, beliefs, customs and culture. Meanwhile, the valiant sheperds inhabiting scattered settlements on the Alba slowly incorporated the surrounding nations, appropriating their best traits like the culture, technology and military strategies, offering the safety and order in return. The two groups eventually merged during various conquests by neighbouring nations and periods of freedom, creating a unique heritage mixing achievements of elves, Vicovarians, Etolians and several Alban tribes. At some point of the history the Kingdom of Nilfgaard emerged.
Establishment of the Senate and first conquests
The monarchs were aided by a council of advisors, which became known as the Senate. Over time, the Senate has gained more and more power, becoming a legislative body.[N 1] During this period Nilfgaardian influences started to expand and neighbouring lands were slowly Nilfgaardized.
Eventually, a couple of realms outside the Lower Alba were incorporated into the realm, either willingly or by force. The title of Imperator appeared, at first only as position in army. Known lands that were joined in that period were Rowan and Ymlac, apparently also Ruach, Daerlan, Magne and Winneburg.
The Imperial Sun Rises
In the early 12th century Imperator Torres var Emreis overthrew the Senate and took absolute power. At first he referred to his realm only as a "kingdom" but during his later reign term "empire" was coined – and the Emperor with it.
By the time of Emhyr var Emreis most of the people had accepted the imperial regime and mocked those who dreamed of democracy. And even though the Empire reached Amell, Lower Albans kept their privileged position, considering themselves as the only "true" Nilfgaardians and occupying most of the highest positions within the imperial administration.
Emblems displayed in the infobox are based on the Alba Division banner – black Alerion, a mythological bird. The Tower emblem in turn is taken from CD Projekt's The Witcher franchise – since it isn't golden, like the towers in the city, it may be a nod to name "Torres" (tor is Elder Speech for "tower").
The following illustration has been created by Wiki editors basing on official description and/or depictions.
Geography and Climate
The realm encompasses territories adjacent to the lower flow of the Alba, approximately more than 2.000 miles south to the Yaruga mouth. The climate is warm, allowing evergreen trees like lemon and grapevine to be cultivated.
- Castel Graupian with Imperial Academy
- City of Golden Towers
- Loc Grim
- aep Dahy's princedom
- Voorhis' princedom
- de Wett's princedom
- Broinne's county
- Fitz-Oesterlen's barony
- d'arvy's county
It's been suggested that Nilfgaardian society is more modern than the Northern Kingdoms, like not believing in "mythological" creatures such as vampires and going as far as wondering why the North doesn't welcome Nilfgaard bringing "culture, prosperity, order and political stability" to them. However many Northern mages are very wary of Nilfgaard: while mages do exist in the Empire, they are heavily controlled to the point they must either serve Nilfgaard or face the scaffold for breaking any of the rules, like attending secret meetings.
Unlike the North though, Nilfgaardian society still uses slavery, which has now became the cheapest workforce in the Empire. They have also adopted a monotheistic religion: the cult of the Great Sun, whose highest priest is the Emperor himself.
Nilfgaardian society also always showed much respect towards the figure of the woman: in Nilfgaard, women have far more rights and freedom than in the North, and according to the Nilfgaardian etiquette, even the Emperor out of his palace must show them respect and bow to them first.
Names of Nilfgaardian men are usually composed by different elements: first comes their name, than the one of their mother, the one of their great-grandfather and for last the name of their father, usually preceded by the preposition "aep", which can be translated as "of".
Women's name is shorter and presents less elements. When a woman get married however, the name of her husband is added at the end of her name, after their surname.
Fashion and clothing
In Nilfgaard the prevailing colors used for clothes are the ones appearing in the Empire's coat of arms, hence black and gold. Nilfgaardians rarely use other colors within their fashion, especially the most bright ones. Nobles usually wear black and golden doublets, often decorated with golden embroideries (or usually with a white one resembling a cross) and white cuffs, trousers and shoes/boots. The ruff is also a very common accessory often used by Nilfgaardians.
Beards are considered in Nilfgaard hard on eyes, hence few men let it grow.
Greetings and manners
There are a lot of greetings in the Nilfgaardian society. The most common is probably a simple "hael", which can just be translated as "hello / greetings". Other more sophisticated greetings are for example "gloir aen Ard Feainn" or "gloir aen Nilfgaard", translated as "glory to the Great Sun / Nilfgaard". Within the army, soldiers use among them greetings like "e'er y glòir", which can be translated as "honor and glory", and "tuvean y gloir", which can be translated as "death and glory".
Towards the Emperor, Nilfgaardians use expressions like "hael Ker'zaer" or "glòir aen Ker'zaer", which can both be translated as "glory to the Emperor". As mentioned before, men must bow not only before the Emperor, but also before women. The procedure for a formal bow in Nilfgaard is: left leg extended, right leg and head flexed down, right hand on chest, left hand extended.
Food and drink
Little is known about the Nilfgaardian diet: food seem to be similar to the ones in Northern Kingdoms, although sometimes some products may be better depending on the place of origin. During the Northern Wars a naval blockade was established between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms, which prevented the trade of food among the countries, particularly seafood like oysters, making it quite rare in Nilfgaard during this time.
The poorer citizens of the Empire usually eat mushes and porridges from shredded wheat with water. At times they eat the mush with herbs or vegetables, adding cheese at the end. Poorer Nilfgaardians can rarely afford to eat meat, and even if they happen to slaughter some kind of cattle the meat is usually smoked. Poorest of the Empire's inhabitants can't afford even bread. Many of those who actually have it make their own at home. To fill their bellies the wretched eat plenty of various olives.
The rich eat somewhat better: Among their foods there are particular meals such as roasted storks or dormice, rat-like animals, more expensive than oysters served with honey or poppy seed. At feasts, where these meals are served, it is also possible to eat eggs and apples, the first being served as an appetizer while the second as a dessert, both in large quantities. Nilfgaardians, when talking about large, proper meal usually call it as being "from eggs to apples".
Both among the rich and those truly-not-rich, great popularity is enjoyed by a particular fish sauce. This sauce is often improved by adding both honey and vinegar and Nilfgaardians eat it with almost everything.
As for drinks, Nilfgaard imports the world famous wines from the province of Toussaint, usually diluted with water. The Lemon is also a very famous alcoholic beverage used in Nilfgaard.
Events and holidays
Nilfgaardian holidays usually take place during Equinoxes and during current Emperor's birthday. Main celebrations are held in the capital and performed by the Emperor himself, who is also the Highest Priest of the Great Sun. The most noteworthy events are the famous Gladiators fights held in the several stadiums and fight pits scattered in the main cities of the Empire. When the stadiums are not hosting fights, chariot races and theatre performances are held instead.
- ↑ While the Senate's existence might suggest that Nilfgaard, much like its real-world analogue, was a Republic for some time, it's worth noting that word "republic" has not appeared in the official franchise.
- ↑ The World of the Witcher
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Tower of the Swallow
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Lady of the Lake
- ↑ The Witcher Role-Playing Game
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Baptism of Fire
- ↑ The Witcher
- ↑ Blood and Wine expansion
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- ↑ Gwent: The Witcher Card Game